Time to act on water is now

After years of careful research and public consultation, Council will vote on the City's new Decentralised Water Master Plan on Monday night.

Climate change means droughts and heatwaves will be more common - we experienced our hottest day on record this January. On top of that a growing population will place greater demands on our water supplies - demand in the City alone is expected to grow 30 per cent to 44 billion litres by 2030.

Whilst others talk, we at the City will take action now to help 'future-proof' our city.

The majority of our city's water is piped 68km from Warragamaba Dam, yet only half the City's drinking-standard water is used for drinking, bathing and cooking.

So much of Sydney's precious drinking water supply is unnecessarily being wasted on non-drinking purposes that do not require water treated to such a high standards.

We need to be smarter about how we use this precious resource. Our new plan will replace up to 30 per cent of drinking water currently used to flush toilets, irrigate parks and in large-scale air-conditioning, with local recycled water by 2030.

It would also cut water use by 10 per cent in City-managed buildings, parks and open spaces; halve stormwater pollution running into Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay; and reduce our dependence on drinking water by using resources like recycled and treated waste water, stormwater, groundwater, roof water and seawater.

At the moment 26 billion litres of stormwater runs off the City of Sydney catchments each year, depositing 3,500 tonnes of sediment, nutrients and pollutants into Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay.

We are already investing in water recycling in many of our parks and rain gardens in many of our neighbourhoods.

Work will begin later this year on the City's largest recycled water project at Sydney Park where up to 850 million litres of stormwater - the equivalent of 340 Olympic pools - could be recycled.

Our careful research and planning puts us in the best possible position to achieve our ambitious, but possible, goals.

This is the kind of long-term thinking which the community should expect from all levels of government.

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